I’ve learned a lot over the past year and some change that I’ve been in eating disorder recovery. And I’ve learned that patience is required to get better. I start moving in the right direction, and in an instant, I’m swept away by Ana and her promises of the perfect life, if only I am small.
It is common for people with anorexia to be perfectionists. Guess what perfectionists are short on? PATIENCE. I just want it to be perfect, every time. I don’t want to try and fail over and over again in order to succeed. That makes me tired. That makes me lose hope.
I just want that prized moment, when I can say, “I am recovered,” to arrive.
I don’t even know if that is an actual moment that happens.
Take this blog for example. It’s really hard to keep writing. To keep putting all my dirty laundry out there and have no idea if I’m helping anyone really. To have no likes, no comments over and over. To believe that I’m not just humiliating myself repeatedly while everyone either ignores this story or sees it and thinks I’m totally looney.
My dream is that the blog becomes a place that people come.
- To see themselves reflected in a way that makes them feel normal, and recovery is possible.
- To find books and videos that help them.
- To access social media that will encourage them and empower them to accept themselves (and others) at any size.
- To listen to music that inspires hope in a future without an eating disorder.
You see, I would love for this blog to get big enough that I can quit my day job and make a living helping others with recovery: through the blog, a memoir, maybe an online course or podcast.
But I’m not there yet. When I look up ways to volunteer, most places want you to be at least a year into recovery, sometimes more. I understand that; you need to put your own oxygen mask on before you can help the other person.
The blogs that I admire…these are people who were in the depths of their eating disorders in 2005, 2010, maybe 2012. Not 2018.
It’s too soon. I’m not ready yet.
So I need patience. Patience to do that really hard work, the work that is not glamorous in the least. The work that is really just about helping me, putting my own oxygen mask on. Writing blog posts that maybe only a handful of people read but are so cathartic for me. Blogging after I get home from work and put my daughter to bed, when all I want to do is sleep. Taking my meds even though I don’t want to.
I don’t know what will happen with this blog. I’m taking a day at a time in my recovery and trying to not worry about tomorrow. Today challenges me enough.
I keep coming back to God, asking for faith to believe recovery is possible. Asking for Him to help me believe what He says about me. Seeing my body as a gift from God. Seeing it as His design for my life, the body I need to live out the life He wants for me. Taking care of it because it’s a gift, not because American culture says so – AND taking care of it the way HE wants, not the way ‘Merica wants.
For now, I will keep trying. I will seek patience with myself.